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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  November 15, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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>> this is nbr. >> susie: i'm susie gharib. b.p. pleads guilty to felony charges and will pay more than $4 billion for damage caused by the "deepwater horizon" oil spill. >> tom: i'm tom hudson. china makes its once-a-decade leadership change just as the chinese economy faces pressure from outside and in. >> susie: and the fiscal cliff isn't the only uncertainty for c.e.o.s.
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the future of financial regulations with the c.e.o. of florida-based bank united. >> tom: that and more tonight on nbr! $4.5 billion and guilty pleas to charges of manslaughter and lying to congress. that was the admission today from b.p. two and a half years after the "deepwater horizon" disaster in the gulf of mexico. that disaster killed 11 people and led to the worst oil spill in u.s. history. inits guilty ple b.p. saidt deeply regrets the loss of life and almost five million barrels of oil that into the gulf. darren gersh reports. >> reporter: justice department officials hope today's settlement and criminal pleas will bring justice to the families of the men who died when the "deepwater horizon" exploded. >> perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the deaths of the 11 men on board the "deepwater horizon" could have been avoided. the explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from b.p.'s culture of privileging profit over prudence. >> reporter: b.p. has agreed to
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plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter and one felony count of lying to congress. in addition, two b.p. supervisors on the deepwater rig have been charged with 23 counts of manslaughter. another b.p. executive was charged with lying to congress. b.p. will also pay a record- setting $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties. thrown in with the criminal charges is a civil settlement with the securities and exchange commission. b.p. will pay more than half a billion llars to stle charges it lied to investors, telling them the macondo spill was one-tenth it's actual size. >> b.p. executives made numerous public statements in which they stood behind the flow rate estimate of 5,000 barrels, despite an ever-growing body of evidence that the estimate was unreasonably low. >> reporter: b.p. has now resolved two massive problems. it has settled a long-running dispute with its partners in russia, and now it has put to
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rest the risk of a criminal trial in the united states. >> it's a record settlement. it's hard to say that admission of guilt and a $4.5 billion fine is a good thing for a company, but this could be the beginning of the end of this saga for b.p. >> reporter: b.p. is not done yet. it still faces up to $20 billion in civil fines. a trial in that case is scheduled to begin in february. darren gersh, nbr, washington. >> susie: joining us now, mitchell crusto. he's a law professor at loyola university in new orleans, and has been studying the b.p. case and the relationship between business and the environment. how important is today's set element -- settlement. >> this is the biggest we have more dollars at stake. >> in terms of how importantthil us a little more. it's a record settlement. but it does encompass quite a
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few different features. in addition to the felony charges there is the fec investigation and the resolution of that matter and that is a big deal. >> darren is saying it's notove. the government is bringing gross negligence charges against bp. bp is going to fight it vigorously how is that going to play out? >> it's difficult for them toave standard when they admitted to the felony charges. when it's related to the environment. it's some $20 billion this is a big story but it's an even bigger story ahead. >> there have been so many fines there a silver lining to all of this? does this make the deep water drilling safer going into the future? >> well it's certainly a goodstr
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investors and the shareholders will see the company in a greater light. brrchltbut unfortunately we aret going to see the end to oil spills. it's a slap on the wrist and it doesn't change regulations or the risk involved. bp was a reasonably qualified company to do this type of drilling. there is probably other drillers who are not as careful as bp has been in the past and may not be in the future. >> so to put this inperspectives and the prison term and the apology from bp. is there any satisfaction for the victims? does the punishment fit the crime. >> suzie i think not enough.we d as a result of the disaster no. 1. and no. 2 there is still risk involved that the regulations and the process of risky
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drilling encoupl encumbers. and this does not stop the companies from doing business the right way and the same way they have been doing business in the past. we are going to leave it here. a lot of issues unresolved. >> it was a natural disastermeae econic data >> tom: it was a natural disaster that showed up in some economic data today. weekly filings for first time unemployment benefits jumped to a one-and-a-half year high, surging 78,000, thanks to super- storm sandy. the total was 439,000. meantime, consumer inflation slowed to a one tenth of a percent increase, thanks to lower energy prices. without food and energy, core inflation was up two tenths of a percent. on wall street, the dow fell 28.5 points, the nasdaq was down almost ten, and the s&p 500 dropped two. if you want to know how the
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enomys faring, it pays to keep an eye on walmart. after all, it has over 10,000 stores across the globe, selling more than $1 billion worth of stuff every day. it earned $1.08 per share in the third quarter, a penny more than estimates, and up 11% from last year. but revenues were a little shy of forecast, and walmart's outlook for this quarter was less than anticipated. compare that to rival target's quarterly earnings-- four cents better than expectations at 81 cents a share and a holiday outlook that didn't disappoint. erika miller reports on what the results say about all-important the holiday season. >> reporter: $3.6 billion. that almost unthinkable number is what walmart earned in the third quarter alone. it works out to about $40 million in profits a day. to wall street analysts, it's proof the company's turnaround strategy is working. >> what walmart does so well is they are offering amazing values at very low prices. and they do such a good job
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providing what you need to make your life easy to live. it gives consumers in a tough environment the opportunity to shop at a low price. >> reporter: walmart has also added more merchandise to store shelves, giving customers more selection. but the retailer still faces serious headwinds, most notably a weak global economy. what happens at walmart is watched closely by wall street, because it provides a glimpse into the mindset of low- and middle-income shoppers. unfortunately, the picture isn't pretty. >> they're the most poverty stricken, they're the most with sub-prime mortgages, they're the ones with homes being repossessed. they're the ones whose hours are being cut. they're the ones who are under the most stress. >> reporter: rival target appears to be in better shape. its core customer has a higher household income, $65,000 a year. and it has another advantage. >> much more attractive stores and fixtures.
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they don't have apparel next to cookies. >> reporter: that's why he and others think target may have the edge this holiday season. the store has also expanded its price-matching policy to include online rivals like amazon, which could help attract me toy business. erika miller, nbr, new york. >> reporter: i'm diane eastabrook. still ahead, chrysler is expanding in the wake of block buster truck sales. i'll have details coming up.
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>> tom: the world's second biggest economy made its once-a- decade change in leadership today. china's communist party central committee selected its new seven-member ruling team in beijing. the group rules over a chinese economy that has been slowing and showing signs of stress after years of expansion, built on global trade and helped by keeping its currency value locked with the u.s. dollar. but currency expert wolfgang >> the chinese currency that is going to be accelerating the un-pegging versus the u.s. dollar, which will create more uncertainty about the dollar versus china, and therefore the value of what business companies are doing in china. >> tom: we spoke with william nobrega, managing partner at the conrad group, an emerging markets investment advisor about what the new leaders need to do. one of the things that they need to do is taking the reform and building the institution so they ne a robust healthcare system and education system. therthere is a growing inequaliy between rich and poor in china
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and that is a grave concern for the new leadership. >> the outgoing president 'senet corruptions that you haven't heard from a chinese leader. saying "combatting corruption is a major political issue" how big of an economic issue is it. they are going to lose faith in the government and you can see somwide scale issues coming about. the question is can they tackle corruption and they have not been successful yet. $120 billion has left the country in graft. it filters through to the provinces and it's a big issue. >> are you looking at china puta significant barrier to foreign investment? >> you can't do business inchi . they have to be connected to the chinese government. it leaves american companies a a
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bit edgy. >> let's talk about the newleade announced as the general secretary of the chinese party. he's vice president of china. he has a long resume of a chemical engineer degree and served in the army and he grew up in privileged life and as a laiblabourer. is this a guy to attack corruption. >> i think he's serious aboutit. all leaderships are timid. can th make the bold decision to go of a th of a -- after then year leadership members that are corrupt. >> is there global support fori? >> we can't have a stanc transpe corruption at that level. and they know it. they want to foster a corruption free based society
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>> safer: what's next for venture capitalism in china? go online to to learn more about investing in this emerging market. just look for the "nbr-u" tab. another encouraging sign today-- the u.s. auto industry is beginning to fire on all cylinders. chrysler announced that it plans to hire 1,200 additional workers and invest about $240 million in three michigan plants. diane eastabrook has details. >> reporter: the bulk of chrysler's $240 million investment will go toward reopening the company's detroit engine plant. chrysler is spending just under
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$200 million upgrading the facility to make v6 pentastar engines. the remaining $40 million will go towards upgrades at another engine plant. those engines will go into additional ram pickup trucks the company will be producing at a nearby plant in warren. the expansions underscore chrysler's optimism about the improving u.s. economy and housing market. james schrager is a management professor at the university of chicago's booth school. he says the expansions here could also underscore chrysler and fiat c.e.o. sergio marchionne's pessimism about europe. >> in the u.s., he is implementing well, making good cars with designs people want to buy, but when the market it is here, you spend your capital dollars here. >> reporter: fiat bought a stake in chrysler after it emerged from bankruptcy three years ago. since then, it's invested nearly $5 billion in u.s. plants and added 6,000 workers. >> and chrysler has been the cac
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auto industry. it's been ringing up month after month in both cars and trucks. >> it's interesting there is ad. are people interested in buying trucks like the dodge rams you are standing next to given the price of gas these days. >> that took a hit during there. a lot of builders that buy trucks stopped by them. we are seeing the housing march coat tur -- market turn around. we saw the dodge pick up sales up 20%. that is amazing. one thing we learned in the eat after hurricane sandy is that people wan want to have a car tt gets good gas mileage. are american automakers taking this serious too. >> a lot of these trucks havev6e
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enhancements that are put on the vehicles to get better gas mileage and they are coming out with direct injection engines. >> thanks a lot diana "the housing market is far from being out of the woods." that's what federal reserve chairman ben bernanke told business leaders in atlanta today. he said the fed will keep interest rates ultra low so the housing sector can recover. bernanke alsooted that one in five borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, another sign that housing is still struggling. his comments came as foreclosure filings fell 19% in october compared to a year ago. it's the third straight month of annual declines, according to market research firm realty- trac. >> tom: u.s. stock indices continued sinking, falling for the sixth time in the past seven sessions. the s&p 500 made a couple of runs into positive territory today but couldn't keep up the
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d. the trading range was a little bigger, a dozen points top to bottom as it ended down a fraction. trading volume was a bit heavier-- 775 million shares moving on the bog board; just over two billion on the nasdaq. the telecommunications sector saw the biggest slide, down 1.1%. and utilities extended their sell-off with the sector down another seven tenths of a percent. walmart's less enthusiastic outlook for the fourth quarter hung over retail stocks. shares of walmart droppe3.6% as volume more than tripled. after running to a new all-time high just last month, shares tonight are at their lowest level since june. after the closing bell, fellow retailer sears was in focus. the parent company of sears and k-mart did not lose as much money has feared. but sales at stores in the u.s. open for more than a year fell, and the company said it is dealing with inventory shortages in groceries and electronics.
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shares gained a fraction in the regular session, closing at $58.48 per share, but traded down to around $55 per share in extended hours trading. that is a drop of more than 5%. another retailer worth watching tomorrow may be the gap. after closing at $33.26 today, the stock rallied to $34.50 per share. earnings came in as expected but profit margins were up and sales at its north american stores were growing. dell computer is expecting the big shift in computing from traditional desktop computers to tablets and smart phones to continue. the shift is hitting its bottom line as profits have fallen for four consecutive quarters. third-quarter earnings per share were a penny less than estimates, showing another double-digit drop from a year ago. one of its major business lines, its servers and networking business, showed sales
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increases. shares closed at $9.56 during the regular session, and fell below $9.50 in after-hours action. the stock is down 40% in the past year as dell wrestles with a shrinking computer business. despite all the worries about the fiscal cliff and the stock sell-off we've seen since election y, go sold o today. prices fell nine tenths of a percent, settling at its lowest price in a week, losing some of the rally since election day. the world gold council noted global demand for the yellow metal fell in the third quarter. three of the five most actively traded exchange traded products were higher, led by the japanese e.t.f., rallying 1.6%. and that's tonight's "market focus."
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>> susie: tomorrow is a big deadline for president obama's health care insurance reform. it's the day states across the country must decide if they will be setting up their own health insurance exchanges, or if they will opt out and let the government do it for them. sylvia hall takes a look at the exchanges, how they'll work, and how they will impact the way americans pay for care. >> reporter: the idea behind state health insurance exchanges is pretty simple-- the uninsured will have a central place to shop for health insurance. all plans will meet minimum coverage requirements and no one is turned down. in exchange, health insurance companies get more healthy customers, costing them less, because virtually everyone is required to buy health insurance. for those who can't afford it, the federal government provides subsidies. >> it's a little bit of a grand bargain that's been struck with
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the insurance industry-- you stop doing some of that cherry- picking behavior that's been so problematic, and in return, we'll guarantee you that there will be a steady stream of customers who will be buying their product. and they'll be able to afford to buy the good insurance because the subsidies will be available. >> reporter: it all goes into effect in 2014, with the goal of bringing down health insurance premiums by increasing competition among insurers. but many republican governors consider the exchanges too risky, expensive, and too regulated. at least 14 states have decided not to create exchanges. 15 states and the district of columbia are. the rest either haven't announced a decision or plan to partner with the federal government. no matter who sets them up, the exchanges could start a permanent shift in the way we pay for health care. if the exchanges succeed, if they work, if they regulate insurance in a way that holds down administrative costs, that improves the clarity of information that customers
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receive, there are going to be other people who want to get in and use the exchanges. >> reporter: for companies offering their workers health insurance, about half are interested in similar private exchanges for their employees, according to a report out yesterday. companies would let their workers pick out their own health insurance, then pick up a portion of the cost. we can expect announcements from more states tomorrow about their plans. states that decide exchanges face another deadline in a month to submit their plans to the federal government. sylvia hall, nbr, washington. >> tom: the fiscal cliff is just one of the big uncertainties for american business leaders. for banking bosses, specifics of financial regulation also remain unknown. john kanas is the chairman and c.e.o. of bank united, a florida-based bank with $13 billion in assets. john welcome back to nbr good to see you again. >> good to see you. >> do new regulations mean theb.
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>> the new regula regulations a. the common thinking is that at it will be a catalyst toward driving consolidation in the industry. but frankly there has been a great deal of talk about consolidation and little consolidation. >> why is that?why that differe? >> the stock prices has a lot t. >> a lot of the smallerinstituts have grown to levels. and they have a new normal evaluation of banks. and that is changing slowly. and also, while regula regulatoe responsible for the extra costs they are not inviting consolidation either. >> right. >> because consolidation createe more complex and more difficult to regula regular regulate. >> is that impacting yourlendin?
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>> iit isn't for us.we were fors capital and be located in a market that is growing in south east miami. but as ainduryomment it certainly is. and the uncertainty surrounding all of this. and not t to mention all of the other things coming down the road. another cushion that is causing bank managers to hesitate. >> besides the cushion and thelt how do you find growth as a bank. >> there are two forms of gomre. report -- growth. growth in asset size and earnings. we have been growing significantly. $2 billion a year but the margin on all of this new business is very, very thin because interest rates are solo i so low in the t
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place the net interest margins continues to collapse. as time goes by that is eroding the bank's ability to make money. >> asis that impacting the grow. >> absolutely. >> low interest rates arehurtin. >> they are clearly hurting they are unable to grow they are unable to support len lent loanh >> susie: tomorrow on nbr, congressional leaders and president obama meet face to face on the fiscal cliff. and our friday "market monitor" is making plans for the fiscal cliff. he's jack ablin of harris private bank. and that's "nightly business report" for thursday, november 15. have a great evening, everyone. you, too, tom. >> tom: good night, susie. we'll see you online at,
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